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percy jackson { son of the sea god

antistar_e in veritasrecords

Fic: Remove Tag Before Washing (And Other Addenda), Percy Jackson

Title: Remove Tag Before Washing (and Other Addenda to Growing Up)
Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Characters/Pairings: Percy/Annabeth, Annabeth/Nico, Nico/Percy, Percy/Nico/Annabeth
Word Count: ~10,000

Done for pjo_fic_battle amnesty, prompt: Percy/Nico/Annabeth, fumbling. I started this about five minutes after I saw the prompt, and then lost the thread of it. I wasn't intending on picking it up again, but. January 31st rolls around, I am like, "rly. rly, I couldn't thought of this, like, half a month ago?" Intentions, path to hell, all that.

This is a prequel of sorts to this fic. That was written first, even though I was writing that intending it to be a sequel to this. Are you still following? Yeah, I'm not.

Unbeta'd. Also available @ AO3.




1a.

This is how it begins:

Nico's somewhere between nine and ten years old, because shit's gotta start somewhere, dude. He's between nine and ten and he lays eyes on Percy Jackson for the first time. He's this scrawny, dazed-looking kid about Nico's age; beat-up, dirty with dust and looking like he just needs a bag of Doritos and some quality time with Mario and his kart, talking up at the bellhop of the Lotus Casino.

The first time he lays eyes on Percy, Annabeth and Grover are there, too, but Nico doesn't really see them, because he's just a kid and his focus doesn't extend that big yet, and because Percy kinda looks a lot like the figure of the Greek hero Perseus that Nico keeps in his Mytholomagic deck for back-up. The irony of the situation is completely lost, of course, because he doesn't have the best grasp on dramatic irony yet and he's not going to remember this anyway.

"I hope he's good," he jabbers at Bianca, tugging on the seam of her jeans to get her attention. She swats at him, not looking up from her DS; she's been trying to catch Articuno on Pokemon for the past fifteen minutes and that thing's a bitch, so Nico mostly just talks at the side of her head. "I've already beaten everyone else in the casino at Mythomagic."

"Be nice," Bianca says sternly, demonstrating the full range of her parental abilities, all of which he'd learned to ignore by the time he was three.

The second time Nico sees Percy, he's still about ten, but Percy's closer to fourteen, and it's at a middle school dance in Maine, which, yeah, not so cool.

It gets even less cool when Annabeth falls off a cliff and Bianca goes off to worship deer or whatever it is the Hunters of Artemis do that cause them to up and abandon their one and only responsibility in life for no reason other than to unnecessarily complicate the plot, and Nico doesn't even care if Artemis sticks an arrow in his butt for thinking it, he's still kind of pissed about it.

It's around that time that Nico learns the world really does revolve around Percy Jackson, and they're all going to die. Like, soon, because when the world decides it's going to end in a great cataclysmic battle, then shit, it doesn't mess around.

It's a pretty eventful, oh, three years or so.

Nico never does shake the feeling that the Greek gods are kind of playing their own screwed-up version of Mythomagic, and Percy's the back-up piece they've pulled from the bottom of the deck, and are waiting for the right moment to sacrifice him in play in order to summon something bigger, because in Mythomagic, nobody has more life points ripe for taking than the Greek heroes, and those figures don't last long at all.



1b.

The second time it occurs to him that he might -- maybe, possibly, the slightest bit -- be in love with Percy Jackson, he's almost fourteen himself and crouched behind some shrubbery with several other campers like major creepers, watching Percy kiss Annabeth by the lake with all the stiff, hands-off awkwardness of first timers, which is just as uncomfortable as it sounds and not something Nico ever wants to do again.

Except Percy and Annabeth seem to have the complete opposite idea, because they kiss a lot that summer, and Nico's very, very grateful he's the only one working on the Hades cabin, because it gets him out of their way as often as possible.

Dude, it's gross. Saving the world is not a free-for-all pass to suck face at every opportunity. It's just ... no.

So the spectacular first love of Nico's life is being vicariously lived through someone else -- someone else who, at the slightest provocation, could, in fact, own his ass seven ways before Sunday and look like a babe doing it. Screw Olympus, dude. To a fourteen-year-old, that's the end of the world.

It doesn't, however, do a damn thing to damper the want that's shivering underneath his skin, kind of like a sugar rush and kind of like sticking his finger in a light socket and kind of like always being on the edge of a fight, and Nico still kind of thinks girls have cooties, but it doesn't stop him from remembering the crooked hook of Annabeth's arm around the back of Percy's neck, the tangle their legs made when they tumble their weight up against the side of the stables, like they couldn't hold themselves upright, not under the weight of love and lust and each other. Their bodies are longer, leaner than Nico's is, built hard by training and nicked up by someone else's war, and made to look like they belonged better, pressed into each other. Nico sees it every damn time he closes his eyes, can't help it, can't stop, because he's got this bad habit of obsessing.

But, see. He's kind of rationalized it. It's Percy's fault, of course, because he makes it so easy.

Percy Jackson belongs to them. He belongs to every camper, every Hunter, every turncoat and traitor who was there in Manhattan in the summer of 2009, because they made him theirs, they gathered behind him and they followed his orders and they marched when he said march and when they bled out on dirty cement, someone else stroked their hair and told them it was going to be okay, Percy's still alive, Percy's still fighting, Percy's still gonna save us.

They made him invincible. Nico might have led him to the River Styx, but it's everybody else who makes him golden, immortal, shining, and if Nico's a little bit in love with him, what the hell, so's everyone else.

So, somewhere, when he's about to fall asleep and is no longer responsible for holding his thoughts back from himself, he thinks that maybe, maybe, it's possible. If he can make Percy want this, too, then he'll take it, even if it means Annabeth's always going to be that spectre over his shoulder, because if Percy wants it, it's okay. He'll make it okay. Nobody's going to tell him no.

(The first time it occurs to him that he might -- maybe, possibly, the slightest bit -- be in love with Percy Jackson, it's in a cell in the Underworld, when he wakes Percy up in the dead (ha!) of night to help him escape a semi-eternity locked up in Hades' castle, listening to Muzzack and being forced to do long division. He gets slammed against a wall with a sword at his throat for the trouble. Percy's strong enough, startled enough, mad enough, and tired enough that he lifts Nico clean off his feet, his pupils so far blown there's only a ring of blue-green around the black. Nico's fingers scrabble, thumbs digging into the underside of Percy's wrist, because he can't breathe and he realizes, in that vague, almost disinterested way people do when they're about to die, that Percy can kill him. Percy can kill him, might not even feel sorry about it because, hey, Nico did just kind of sell him out for the price of tea in China, and no one would even miss him. And just like that, Nico doesn't want it. He wants to be important to somebody, and that somebody's about two inches from his face.

That's how it starts.)




2a.

Saving the world, Annabeth thinks, isn't complicated enough.

Someone's gotta go and tack real life living on top of it. It's like, they save Olympus, hurrah, now hey, look, school starts in September and you haven't cleaned your room since that one time with the Labyrinth and there might be a breakfast bowl under your bed that's growing sentient life, and, by the way, have you thought about your future?

It takes Annabeth a while to figure out that they've been gypped, but she can be forgiven for this, she thinks, since the sheer amount of time she spends with Percy, his hand up her shirt and his mouth licking up her jaw, tends to erase better parts of her brain that would have otherwise been occupied with the absorption of new and interesting facts.

Things were easier when complete annihilation threatened. Then she didn't have to look out at the rest of their lives and wonder if it was always going to be like this; Percy at the end of her fingertips, half-bloods to find and look out for and gods to clean up after. She wonders if they'll still be like this, even when she's in San Francisco and he's in New York, if it feels like he's still right there, like he always has been, and between them, they have the entire country locked between their fingers, kept safe.

Annabeth doesn't like uncertainty. It comes, she thinks, from having a life defined by a really old, obnoxiously vague prophecy.

Summer after next, Mrs. O'Leary disappears. This might have gone unnoticed if only she wasn't, you know, a hellhound big enough to flatten a school bus and make it look like an accident. If anyone notices, it's the kid on pooper-scooper duty; he suddenly has a lot of free time on his hands.

She shows up again about four weeks later, around the time they start getting kind of worried, looking rather sheepish and trailed by four small, fluffy --

"Puppies!" Percy exclaims, suddenly six years old again and acting exactly like a Manhattan apartment kid who's never been allowed a pet in his whole life. "Annabeth, look! Mrs. O'Leary had puppies!"

The puppy in question has the same height and girth as a beach ball, and it's got its squinty, red-glowing eyes fixed on the mop Percy's got in his hands. Anytime the mop swipes close to where the miniature hellhound is, it pounces on the braided ropes with a snarl and hangs on for dear life, so Percy kind of winds up mopping the dining pavilion floor half with the mop and half with the puppy.

"Is there a way to spay a hellhound?" Annabeth wonders, mostly rhetorically.

"We'll find somewhere for them," Percy replies, with the calm, nonchalant confidence of someone who decided the fate of the world once and then had Cap'n Crunch for breakfast the next morning, no sweat.

Guy saves world, guy gets the girl, everybody lives happily ever after, and Annabeth's a little leery, a little too inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth, a little jumpy, wondering what price she has to pay for this happiness.

She steps up to Percy; his body half-turns to her, already conditioned for where their sides line up as she leans in to kiss him. What's the going rate for the hearts of two Greek heroes?

"By the gods," Nico pipes up from somewhere to their right, in tones of supreme disgust usually reserved only for mold growing in coffee cups and unflushed toilets in public restrooms. "If you two could be any more storybook perfect, I might just have to kill you."

Percy sighs. "I liked the part where you weren't our uninvited third wheel. Can we go back to that?"

"I liked the part where you two weren't completely disgusting. Oh, wait, that never happened."

Annabeth's eyes cut to Percy, catching the quirk of his mouth. Deliberately, they lean in again, meeting in the middle with the kind of slow, practiced kiss that makes music swell in movies. Nico makes some kind of noise that is clearly, "oh my gods, guys, choking to death on sap over here, I'm not going to make it, you go on ahead without me," which cuts off into a startled yelp when the puppy decides he's more interesting than the mop and attacks his shoelaces.

"Good dog," says Annabeth happily, more feeling than seeing Percy's smile curve across his whole face.

She's a bit too proud (hubris, remember? It's not just for veggie dip anymore,) to be affected by the slow, melting grins Percy gives her, because it's expected of her. Daughters of Athena do not swoon for a pretty boy's smile. It's beneath them.

This line of reasoning works, to some extent: it's everything else Percy does that makes Annabeth feel like she's been clubbed in the head and want to walk around on her tiptoes and she's besotted, totally besotted. It's kind of embarrassing, except for the fact that she doesn't even care, because it's amazing, so long as she doesn't really think about it, which is easiest when she has Percy flat on his back and babbling nonsense.

At least when the world was ending, there were other things that distracted her from the choking fear that soon, sometime soon, the other shoe's going to drop and all this happiness is going to get torn out by the roots.




2b.

The first time she realizes that she doesn't love Percy enough, it's during one of their very-much-off periods.

They have those -- if not a lot, then frequently enough, when they argue over something stupid, like whether or not they go looking for monster invasions so they can stand each other up for anniversary dates (well, okay, maybe that was just the once, but it has mileage.)

The worst part is, it's not surprising, when her second-in-command comes in a little after two in the afternoon and tentatively relays that Percy's currently in the stables with Nico straddling his lap in a way that even Silena Beauregard, master horseman, would have been impressed by. In her head, Annabeth has a brief, violent fantasy involving the Stygian blade and whether or not Nico would miss a testicle or two.

But she just looks at Malcolm and shrugs, because she's on the broken side of broken up and Percy's apparently on the up, and she has no right to be jealous. "Whatever."

He looks at her skeptically, and when he doesn't stop, she leans over the side of her bunk and asks Jahnea in the bed below if she can borrow her hand-held electronic Yahtzee game. It's dark and raining outside, the windowpanes blurring with rivulets of water, and some of the cabin's out training anyway, because what hero's afraid of a little rain, but most of them are indoors, valiantly not eavesdropping because they're not like everyone else; they're children of Athena and they have more integrity than that.

Without comment, Jahnea retrieves Yahtzee from her trunk and passes it up. She hears the faint creak of the ladder as Malcolm climbs the rest of the way onto her bed. Her bedspread dips in his direction when he settles down next to her. There's going to be a damp spot there, because it's a long enough walk from the stables to the cabins and he's soaked.

"Are you --" he begins, voice gentle, and settles a hand on her shin. Awkwardness is writ in every line of his body.

"What, Malcolm?"

"Are you sure he's what you want?"

Annabeth thumbs a few of the Yahtzee game's buttons for the excuse of doing something with her hands, and then lowers it between her legs. She opens her mouth a few times, but nothing readily jumps out and Malcolm's still looking at her steadily, waiting for an answer.

Is Percy what she wants? Of course he is. He's been what she's wanted since she was seven years old, and Thalia died and the weight of that want crushed her tiny, too-small heart; she wanted that half-blood to get here right now so she could tell him or her that he or she had some very big shoes to fill, because Thalia's got all the love and admiration Annabeth has to offer and she's dead and it's not going to be her prophecy, which pisses Annabeth off because there's no one she thinks could handle it better.

Four years later, she gets Percy.

Asking her if she wants him is like asking a child if he wants to be an astronaut or a firefighter or walk on lava or slay dragons. It's like asking her if she wants a pony for Christmas. This is Percy, and somewhere along the line he became her best friend, and he looked the entire pantheon of Greek gods in the eye and said, no thank you, to the offer of immortality, and came to stand beside her as casual as if they were in line at Burger King, his arm pressed against hers, and they just saved the world, but it wasn't until that very second that Annabeth realized the world was worth saving.

"Yes," she tells Malcolm, and thinks it's the biggest understatement she's ever made in her life.

(It's more complicated than this. Of course it is, because when is a demigod's life not complicated? Annabeth loves Percy, loves him too much, and she's not afraid to fight for any of that, except where there's the possibility she might lose him all together. She's not needy, not as a general rule, but she needs Percy Jackson the way she needs blood to bleed with, and if it means she has to bite her lip and look the other way when he falls in love with someone else, well, maybe she doesn't love him enough to let him go.)





3a.

He says no to Calypso. He says no to Zeus. He says something to Athena along the lines of, "oh gods oh gods please don't kill me, I promise I'll do right by her or whatever platitude you want me to say," only he hopes it came out a little more manly than that.

Everybody gets what they want (well, with the exception of the people who got dead.) They live happily ever after.

Yes, it's really that simple.




3b.

Nico's his responsibility.

It's not really a conscious decision; just sort of a conscious fact, that Nico has been Percy's since the moment he came home to this round-faced, crooked-toothed kid and had to be like, "yeah, hey, listen, we kind of got your sister killed. Sorry about that, I hope you weren't too attached to her or anything" and shit just went down the drain from there.

Percy's last semester of high school, Nico seems to double in size overnight. It's like his body abruptly realizes that it is, in fact, in real time, and is hurrying to make up for the seventy-odd years it missed. He passes Go and goes straight into gangly without collecting his $200, his skeleton outracing his skin so that his whole appearance looks stretched, pale and bloodless and it's like his limbs are made out of bendy straws, poking out in odd directions. His stick-out ears suddenly shrink to a proper size, but his nose becomes longer and more unfortunate-looking. Well, you can't win them all.

He's not really all that upset that Nico's taller than him now, his youngest cousin all grown up. When you've had a resurrected, body-snatching Titan trying to turn you into monster mash, nothing else really compares, and Percy's gotten really mellow in his old age. Not a lot gets under his skin.

"Have you ever thought about marrying Annabeth?" Nico asks out of the blue some Friday night in cold February, when they're sharing a bench on the subway, shoulders leaning up against each other.

They're on their way home from the concrete skate park that Percy used to hang out at when he was eleven or so and school got out early on teacher conference days, putting off going home to Smelly Gabe without his mom there as buffer. Neither of them are skaters, not in any definition of the term, but Nico's got a board, currently underneath his feet; it rolls back and forth with the movement of the train, taking Nico's legs with it. It's nothing fancy, rubbed smooth in the middle and an uninteresting decal on the bottom ("what's that supposed to be, anyway?" "Shut up," went Nico defensively. "I did it myself, okay. It's supposed to be Peleus." "It looks like Trogdor.") They'd stayed most of the afternoon, trying not to look like idiots and trying to get a kick-flip down and failing miserably at the first and not doing too shabby at the second.

Percy lifts his head off the worn padded bench back, blinking at him. Above the collar of his jacket, Nico's face is windburned, his cheeks and the end of his nose glowing red, his eyelids limned with it, his lips cracked with ridges of dry skin. He doesn't look back at Percy, merely picks at the loose thread unraveling from the finger of his glove.

He thinks about it. He and Annabeth are currently broken up, which Percy has always taken to mean as not actually broken up. In their world, "broken up" means they're just not doing as much making out in public and pretending to be mad about things that aren't really important, but it only really lasts until about May or so. They just make sure to be really noisy about it, because give any hint that you're happy, and it's just asking something to come along and snatch it away.

"Yeah, probably not," he answers eventually. "Bad shit happens when heroes get married, remember?" He reaches over, grabbing Nico's wrist and twining the loose thread around his finger, snapping it off with a quick jerk. "Theseus ditched Ariadne on that island, Hercules kind of bashed that one chick's head in with a rock, and Albert Einstein dumped his wife to knock up his cousin."

"Point," goes Nico. And then, "I don't think Annabeth'd let you get away with bashing her head in, though. You two could probably make it work, if anybody."

Percy makes a noise in his throat, leans back and brushes the thread off to the floor, but Nico's hand flies out, fingers closing around his wrist and holding him still.

"Don't," he whispers, with something in his voice that makes the hairs on the back of Percy's neck stand at attention, something that's all shadows. "Don't go back to her, okay?"

It's at times like these, Nico's eyes big and black and glittering like beetle shells and almost scary with their intensity, that Percy remembers who exactly Nico is. Percy's, first and foremost, because on some level Percy still feels that Bianca's death is his fault, that he should still be making it up to Nico somehow, for taking away the first and only thing that was important to him.

Nico is Percy's responsibility, and he did a shit job of it, those first few years when everything was still "prophecy or die"; Nico grew up being harassed by dead kings and flesh-eating horses and hellhounds, grew up completely alone, learning to crack the earth for skeletons and travel in shadows by himself, only to wind up a collared puppet of his father's all for the promise of affection, and what kind of life is that for a kid? Percy may not have been the one to cut the thread on Bianca's life, but he sure didn't do her any favors by watching out for her little brother.

Nico is Percy's, and Percy is never going to let that happen again. Someone should be there for Nico, because what's the point of helping Percy saving the world if there's no one to care that you did it?

"Percy --" Nico starts again, and his hands are on the collar of Percy's coat now, fisting like they want to pull. "Percy, please -- I. I want," and as soon as this falls from his mouth, he changes track. "I need --"

And that's all it takes. That's the magic word, and Percy doesn't even hesitate, doesn't even think; he lifts himself up, stretches across that last bit of distance and claims Nico's mouth for his own, because everyone's rejected Nico at some point and Percy's not going to be one of them, and if this is what puts that smile on Nico's face, if this takes that edge of desperation out of his eyes, then Percy will give it to him a hundred times over, because once, in a cell in the Underworld, Nico made a choice and made Percy his hero and that. That means something.

Nico shudders all over, arching his spine over the bench back and drawing Percy closer into him, so their bodies became shadows of the other's. His lips are dry but his mouth is shockingly hot when he opens it to him, sighing something that sounds like the start of Percy's name. The hand that was on his collar moves up, cradling the bridge of his jaw and turning his face up with the familiarity of fantasy.

He's peripherally aware that it's not that late, and they're not alone in the subway car. Further down, two women wearing identical yoga pants are taking note of them, elbowing each other and trying to pretend they aren't staring at them out of the corners of their eyes, but Percy's had his eye on them since they sat down and they haven't transformed into something with tentacles yet, so he figures they're harmless.

When he tries to pull back, glib comment on the tip of his tongue (he won't remember what it is; it might have something to do with a chipmunk,) Nico chases his mouth with this noise, something that's half a whimper and half the needy sound of someone with a knife wound to the chest, and Percy folds into him like he's just lost a card game, because what the hell chance does he have against that? No one, he knows for a fact, no one has had Nico like this, pushed back against the seat on a subway car, mouth kissable and wet, and the fact that Nico wants him to have this makes him feel all lit up like a pinball machine.

"Please don't," Nico murmurs, one hand on his hip, thumb rubbing a circle against the hem of his jeans. "Please."

"Yeah," Percy goes, not even remembering what it was Nico had asked him. "Yeah, anything."

(And. And, yeah, okay, so Percy's a pretty mellow person, right, but it's the kind of calm and confident somebody gets when they know they can annihilate an entire army, can go and go and go like the Energizer Bunny until they couldn't anymore, and he wouldn't even pretend he wasn't doing it for them. He would kill for them -- already has, so that Nico's ghosts could finally rest, so that Annabeth would kiss him on his birthday.

Maybe there's a line, and maybe they're toeing it, because a couple months later and they get caught; a rainy afternoon, Nico walking him backwards into the stables, one hand on his belt and a grin stretching all over his face, and Percy snorts and says something like, "you couldn't wait?" And Nico says, "Yeah, well, I'm fifteen. What's your excuse?" And Percy jerks back like he'd been stuck with a pin, hissing, "Oh, Hades, no." And Nico makes a face like, "please don't say my dad's name while I'm contemplating tonsil hockey with you," and Percy's forced to say, "I'm eighteen and you're -- you're -- dude, you're underage. I could go to jail." And Nico rolls his eyes and goes, "Um, yeah. But. That's kind of hot, so why are we stopping?" and shoves him backwards into an empty stall, sliding right into his lap natural as fighting.

And maybe. Maybe there's something that Percy won't do for Annabeth, for Nico. Maybe, somewhere, there's some line he won't cross. This isn't it.)



4.

In August, Percy and Annabeth do freshmen orientation at NYU and meet with their academic advisor.

Frankly, the whole thing gets blown out of proportion. Really, how were they supposed to know their advisor wasn't going to take too well to being chased up a drainpipe by a half-girl, half-gila monster with a grudge against argyle ties and a sweet tooth for half-bloods, up until Percy and Annabeth slice and dice it like something straight off of As Seen on TV? Totally not their fault, except for when they get blamed for it, which, yeah, who didn't see that coming?

As a result, they have pretty much the most incomprehensible schedules imaginable: the kind where Annabeth's stuck in Screenwriting Workshop with a bunch of hippies and Percy's major has somehow gotten mislabeled as Underwater Basket-Weaving (which, he figures, he could probably make work.)

Annabeth's class times are all over the place; three days out of the week, she has a class at eight in the morning and then doesn't have another one until nearly two-thirty in the afternoon, which is frustrating because she can't actually do anything in that time -- it's not enough to go anywhere, and it's definitely not enough to head up to Mt. Olympus, so she spends a lot of time sitting around feeling useless, which is probably the worst thing you could do to someone in her cabin.

Percy winds up missing so much of Intro to Botany and Enviro-informatics (don't ask) that his teacher takes him off roll, thinking he's a glitch in the system. He made it clear to the advisor that he wasn't going to make it on the days he's got work: he's got a job on a small-time fishing boat off the wharf with a bunch of unshaven immigrants who watch the ways he handles the boat in choppy waters and make admiring (or possibly lascivious) comments. They get along, the way fishermen do; it involves a lot of card-playing, staring out to sea, and contemplative nodding.

Nico, meanwhile, started his sophomore year a few weeks earlier, which -- sophomore years are kind of universally known for sucking hardcore, and it provides Nico with another explanation for all his personality defects that hadn't already been categorized under two previous headings: (1) son of Hades with all the common sense of a lightning bug, and (2) had no parental role models growing up and spent his formative years playing card games in a casino and chasing his dead sister, only not as incestuously as it sounds.

But that's not the important part.

Third week of August, only a few days after move-in, Annabeth gets an Iris message while she's in the dorm showers (yeah, awkward) and she's standing in the end stall with a towel wrapped around her when Chiron tells her that he's got a mission for her.

"Like, a Quest?" she asks, bemused. Isn't she a little old for Quests?

"Unofficial," Chiron shrugs a shoulder, offhand. "There's a girl one of our satyr's been watching. She gave him the slip and headed up to where you're at. I was hoping --"

"I'd round her up and bring her over to you?"

"Exactly that."

"Oh, boy," says Annabeth, deadpan. "I'm excited. Ruining little kids' lives. What could be more fun?"

"You don't have to give her the talk, Annabeth," Chiron's voice rumbles with amusement. "Just bring her to me. I've been ruining demigod's lives for a thousand years. Anyway, Nico should be there soon --"

"Woah, what," Annabeth cuts in, because that's not something she needs to hear while naked under a towel. Ever. "Nico?"

The centaur has the decency to look embarrassed, scratching the end of his nose. "He's going to be joining you for this one."

"Why?"

"I think this one is right up his alley. You'll see what I mean."

"Thanks," Annabeth goes, heavy on sarcasm, just as the connection cuts out. "Thank you. You are so helpful."

She leans against the shower wall. She has spent maybe a grand total of ten hours alone with Nico since she was thirteen. None of their pre-pubescent adventures every had them in the same place at the same time, and so they've never been close; everything she knows about him has been relayed to her through Percy, who took him on like he was one of Mrs. O'Leary's puppies and never let go.

This is how it begins.



4a.

Because it's cheaper than Iris message, they Skype-call the satyr, whose name is Rodney.

"Her name's Pauline," he tells them, scratching nervously behind his ear. "I found her in Detroit a year ago. She had all the signs of being a half-blood, but she didn't have any monsters sniffing after her yet, so I figured it'd be safe if I gave her a little while longer, you know? Before the whole 'oh, hey, lots of big scary things want to chew on you, have fun growing up' speech that we gotta give."

"How old is she?" Nico asks from where he's sitting cross-legged on Annabeth's narrow dorm bed.

"Eight."

Annabeth feels her eyebrows go up. "Young," she comments, speaking from experience. "Too young. Why did she run away?"

"I don't know," Rodney confesses, soft. "She ... she disappeared for a month. Completely disappeared. Just didn't come home from school one day. Her mother freaked. The school freaked. I freaked. She was on Amber alert and everything. Then she just -- she just shows up, out of nowhere, ain't even around for more than a couple of hours before she vanishes again, showed up in your neck of the woods."

"Detroit to New York isn't an easy journey for an eight-year-old."

"Monsters," Nico says, almost thoughtfully. "Some monster snatched her."

Rodney nods. "That's what I think it is, too. She's a nice kid," he adds abruptly. "Real quiet, wallflower kind of girl, but nice, and ... nobody knows what's happened to her. Find her, will you?"

"We will," Annabeth and Nico promise, same breath.

They both know exactly what it's like, being that kind of cold and alone and separated from everyone.




4b.

She does end up having sex with Nico that night.

It's reckless, and stupid, and a lot of other things Annabeth is really good at thinking she'll never do up until the moment she's doing them, but as far as safety goes, she's pretty sure Nico hasn't been anywhere that she herself hasn't been, and anyway, it's not like they could say they didn't see it coming, because she's kept him in her peripheral since the moment he showed up, felt his every movement ghost across her muscles like it's she herself making them, tension rubber-band taut between them.

She brought him up with Percy only once, back in June. The conversation had pretty much been, "Are you cheating on me?" Not, "have you cheated on me?" because she already knows the answer to that, but, "are you," present tense, as in, is it happening right now. And Percy had looked up at her and said, "no," and then reeled her in by the belt loop of her jeans in order to press his mouth to the soft spot of skin right below her navel, and that had been that.

It had been his one concession to their getting back together -- "Don't tell Nico, please, Annabeth," and she'd nodded, because you go out of your way to avoid pissing off someone who can put you in a grave with a snap of his fingers.

And now she's alone in a dorm room with him, watching him out of the corner of her eye, and it sings right underneath her skin, a continuing loop of, he stopped me and started you and stopped you and started me and does anyone else think that's unfair, that's not right, and worse, he did stop you, right? You two aren't still -- and Nico's watching her right back, a sort of kamikaze light to his eyes that brightens every time he catches her looking, and there's something about the way his gaze catches on the odd movements of her body, like he's thought about her before, and Annabeth's heart wrenches sideways at the thought, until finally, Nico looks at her slit-eyed and says lowly, "Will you let me fuck you if I ask nice?"

The words fall from his lips so smooth that it hits her, hard, in the gut, a rush of lust that blossoms heat underneath her ribs. Part of her is already rationalizing it: Nico who grew up without anyone to tell him that it's not okay, that you don't fuck a boy and then try to fuck that boy's girlfriend just because she happens to be there, only Nico's shifting, spreading his legs out, and her eyes track up the long, coltish lines of his thighs and just like that, imagines what they'd look like, bracketed around her hips, and she's gone, crossing the small space and fisting her hand in Nico's hair. Nico dismantles everything like it's a game, shifts the plates in Annabeth's tectonic world, settling himself in like he hasn't a care for where the continents go.

He doesn't treat her gentle, which she's expecting: Nico's heart only has room to appreciate one person, and it's not her. Annabeth's tastes, meanwhile, run towards the aesthetic, and there's something about Nico's pipecleaner limbs that appeals to the part of her brain that's always building something; the long planes of his stomach, the angular bones of his hips, the spider-like crook to his fingers when he traces the mouth-shaped bruise on her hip: Percy's, his favorite spot, and Nico's smile is edging a little too close to familiar when he runs his thumb over it, before bending his head to the bruise, his mouth a shock of heat as he traces its outline with his teeth, and Annabeth's brain breaks into white noise.

Later, when he rolls onto his stomach and pulls his backpack close, fishing in it for -- of all things -- a textbook and his pencil, she frowns at him, flat on her back and naked as the day she was born. "Are you doing your homework?"

"Yes."

Oddly enough, she isn't insulted. Some people smoke after sex. Nico apparently does homework. "Why?"

He cracks the spine of his textbook, props it up half-way between Annabeth's shoulder and the nightstand; there isn't a lot of room on the bed. "Because I'm trying to catch up to the grade I'm supposed to be in. I want to skip junior year so I can graduate with kids my age. I'm behind on seventy years of science and history, you know."

She tilts her head at him, curious, because she had not taken him as the kind of guy who cared about schoolwork. Percy doesn't, probably isn't going to go much farther in life than that fishing boat of his. Annabeth does, mostly because it's hardwired into her genetics to care; daughter of Athena and all that, although she doesn't really know where she's going either; her mind still hasn't planned her future much beyond finishing the new Olympus.

"Nico, what are you looking to do?"

He pauses, running the nubby end of his pencil from one side of his mouth to the other. Then, quietly, he offers, "I want to be a doctor." Her eyebrows go up, and he elaborates. "One of the ones that works with kids, little ones --"

"Pediatrician."

"Yes, that. That's what I want." His eyes cut to her, and her questions must be writ large on her face, because he smiles suddenly, mouth a bow curve, and she fights the urge to reach out, run her thumb over the groove above his upper lip. "There's not a lot of mystery in death, not to me, but there is in life. I want to be there when babies are born, want to watch them grow up."

Annabeth's been making room in her world for Nico for years now, but it isn't until this very moment that she realizes she actually likes him.




4c.

They don't have to spend very long looking for Pauline.

She comes to them.

Kind of.

"Holy shit," is the full, published, and annotated extent of Annabeth's thoughts upon waking up the next morning, gathering everything they'd need for a half-blood hunt, apologizing profusely to her roommate who comes in to fetch something or another that's on her desk and meets Nico (Annabeth's not in the room at the time this happens, comes back to find them both awkwardly standing by opposite walls, scratching the backs of their heads. Nico's got his jeans and shirt on, but neither of them ever tell her if that's how it started out,) and then stepping outside onto 3rd St.

"Holy shit," she says again, for lack of anything more succinct, because there, towering over the intersection between 3rd St. and Broadway, is --

"It's the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man."

"The what now?" says Nico, staring.

She wants to cut him her best "bitch, please" look, but she can't actually tear her eyes away, because it really is the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man. In Manhattan. Looking evil and vaguely monstrous, but mostly looking like it's been crappily CGI-ed straight onto her corneas, and swaying back and forth as people flee in terror from underneath its feet. Like, really, you can't make this stuff up. "Have you never seen Ghostbusters?"

Nico's lips purse. "... was there a video game made of it?"

"Ugh, never mind." The Marshmellow Man roars and stomps after some university kids with a cam-corder. "I think we're going to have to find a way to vanquish that thing before it kills someone."

"Annabeth, wait," he reaches out, grabs a fistful of her shirt and yanks her back onto the sidewalk. "I don't think the giant doughy guy's a monster. Look --" he points. "It's not actually trying to stomp those people. It's just trying to keep them away from --"

"The building," she finishes, realizing it, too. "Protecting it."

"Pauline," he agrees, and Annabeth spends all of half a second thinking, how is it even possible for one eight-year-old girl to conjure a huge, popular cinematic reference and set it loose on New York City, before her education kicks in and supplies her with half a dozen examples of mythological artifacts that could, in fact, conjure a protector for the wearer whenever they were frightened, or threatened, and that made sense: big, scary monsters chase you all the way to New York, who you gonna call?

"She's in that building," Nico eyes it thoughtfully. "So we just need to sneak in without being seen by the Pilsbury Doughboy up there."

They glance at each other. She thinks about making a derogatory comment about what kind of education is he getting, that he knows about the Pilsbury Doughboy and not the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man, but instead, she smirks, and pulls her baseball cap from her back pocket. "Please," she goes. "I can do that in my sleep."

Nico flashes his teeth at her and says, "Yeah, but I can do it faster." He turns, sliding sideways into the thin shadow cast by the speed limit sign.

"Bitch," she complains, without any heat whatsoever.




4d.

She's at the top of the fire escape; a tiny scrap of a thing, crouched down low on the grating and holding onto the railing with both hands. She's wearing a Hannah Montana tank top and she's missing one jelly sandal, her bare foot dangling over the edge.

On the landing below, Annabeth peers up at her, and calls out tentatively. "Pauline?"

The foot jerks back.

"Pauline?" Annabeth calls again, and somewhere on Broadway, the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man swings around with a furious roar, flickering in the late morning light like a badly-tuned television channel. "Are you all right?"

The wind picks up, catching at the girl's hair; it's the shade just off black that Annabeth sees in pretty much every single cabin except her own. She sticks her head out; the first thing Annabeth notices are the slash marks, three thin lines of red cut horizontal across her throat, not quite healed yet.

"I see dead people," she announces gravely, and no, it really doesn't work any better for her than it did for that kid on Sixth Sense, although the Ghostbuster references suddenly make a lot more sense.

Her eyes are huge and eerie and luminous and a very familiar shade of black.

"Oh, shit," says Nico.





4e.

"I am going to have some very, very strong words with my father," he adds, ten minutes later, Pauline a dark, skinny shadow at his back on the way through the abandoned lobby, which is identical to every other downtown Manhattan lobby she's ever been in; impressive marble underfoot and light fixtures that look more like grape vines than anything useful. "Really. There might even be cussing. I mean, seriously, yeah, my dad's an ass, but at the very least, I could look smug and honestly say that Hades was the only one of the Big Three that didn't break the oath. So much for that."

Getting Pauline off the fire escape hadn't been hard. Apparently nobody had told this girl never to take candy from strangers; all they'd had to do was mention Rodney's name and she perked right up. The little bit of ambrosia had helped, too.

Getting her down's the easy part; the hard part is the small pack of snake-headed monsters that ambushes them about eleven feet from the door.

"Well," she says cheerfully, as they're surrounded, forcing them back to back with Pauline tucked between them. "I knew it couldn't be that simple."

There are five of them; squat, burly thug-looking creatures wearing sleek black vests and tricorn hats like something right out of a documentary on the eighteenth century, their skin black and scaly and dry. Their eyes are flat, sightless, their tongues flicking out excitedly to taste the air as they circle around them. Their voices are as whispery as the sound of rustling autumn leaves, a delighted chatter that involved things like, "half-bloods!" "fresh meat!" "smelled them all the way from home!" "a new episode of Gossip Girls is on tonight!" -- or, at least, that's what it sounds like.

"You can shadow-teleport, right?" she asks Pauline in an undertone, keeping her eye on the monsters.

The girl is trembling violently, and every time Annabeth looks at her, her eyes fly to those god-awful marks on her throat, but Pauline's nod is sharp. "It's how I got here," she replies.

"Right. Do you think you can --"

A movement, swift and sudden sharp to their right; a figure, clocking one snake-headed monster around the skull, already turning to meet another as the first crumbles into dust. It laughs, a laugh as familiar to Annabeth as the sound of taxi cabs. The monster gets to him first, striking him hard enough across the face that his whole body whips around with the force of the blow.

He rebounds, rolling out of the way just as Annabeth unsheathes her dagger. When he comes up, his mouth is bright with blood, his teeth limned in crimson when he flashes them a grin: Percy never swallowed any of the water of the River Styx, and so his mouth is the only part of him that still bleeds. He spits and says, "Well? Are we going to dance all day, or are we going to fuck this shit up?"

"What the fuck are you doing here?" It's Nico, ducking to meet one of the snake-headed monsters with a snap kick to its rotund stomach. "I thought you were supposed to be on that boat until Friday."

"Dude," Percy answers, as Annabeth shoves her dagger into the base of another monster's neck, her palm against the hilt to force it as deep as it can go. The monster dissolves. "The Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man is rampaging New York City. We make port early for that."

Between the three of them, it's another thirty seconds or so dispatch the rest of the hoard, and when they're done, Percy caps Riptide and steps over to Pauline, dropping to one knee so he's not towering over her. He's still wearing the hoodie he takes to work no matter the weather because the Atlantic is always freezing; some old ratty university sweatshirt of Paul Blofis's, the front of it dark with blotchy patches of fish oil. Tufts of black hair are sticking out from underneath his skull cap, his face shadowed by an almost-stubble, because it's hard to shave every day on a rocking boat.

"And who's this?" he asks, tone gentled.

Pauline studies her dirty feet; one bare and one sandaled.

"Percy," says Nico. "Meet my little sister."

"... huh," says Percy. He looks up at them. "I guess this means we need to stop swearing and start acting like actual role models, doesn't it?"

"You two go ahead and have a blast with that," Annabeth puts in, voice lofty, and they all laugh.




5.

Lunchtime finds them in the back of Argus's soccer mom Town & Country, with the strawberry fields logo that serves as Camp Half-Blood's alter ego splashed on the side, and Pauline stretched out across one of the rows of seats, out cold with her head pillowed on Annabeth's thigh, and the world's most awkward, glaring silence sitting smack dab in between them all.

It's not the kind of awkward silence that pops up when you don't have anything to talk about on a long drive to summer camp and there isn't anything interesting to look at out the window. No, this is a full-on, quivering lump of a silence that has its own weight and presence and it feels like it's lying right there and they're all just staring right at it in horrified fascination. That kind of awkward silence.

Annabeth opens her mouth three different times to say something to Percy, except every time she does, his eyes cut to Nico in warning and she swallows them right down: she can't greet her boyfriend like a boyfriend because Nico isn't supposed to know. The same goes for Nico, too; it's ridiculous and she knows they aren't wearing neon signs that say, "hey, Percy, what's up, we kind of totally screwed each other senseless on my mattress last night, how are you?" but it feels like if she says anything to him, it's just going to fall out somehow.

Que awkward silence.

She glances between them; Nico with his elbow propped up against the window, head resting on his forearm, and Percy sitting across from him, scrubbing at something in his teeth with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

It's strange, being in the same small, confined space with both of them -- she's used to traveling around in packs of three, because it's a good, solid Greek number, but it's this particular combination that feels strange. She looks at them one way, and it's Nico that doesn't belong, and Grover that should be in place, the way it was when they were much younger. She looks another way, and suddenly she's the odd one out, and it's Thalia who should be where she is, completing the circle of living children of the Big Three; half-bloods with strange powers she'll never know.

She looks at them dead-on, and she isn't sure what they make.

The quiet extends for most of the trip, but things don't have a habit of staying that way.

"OKAY," Nico bursts out suddenly and loudly, making them all jump, including Argus, who immediately feigns disinterest. "Does this have to continue any longer or can we finally all stop pretending that we don't know we're all having sex with each other?"

There's a beat, and then another, and then a moment of incoherent babble from both Annabeth and Percy, which mostly seems to consist of, "you two are still --" and "-- but you don't even like each other, seriously, what" and then silence again, in which they all stare at each other like fish in a fishbowl: Nico looking severely unimpressed and Annabeth and Percy alarmed and caught off guard and guilty, and that pretty much says everything right there.

"You know," goes Percy eventually. "This has the potential to be incredibly embarrassing later."

"Are you kidding," says Nico, sarcasm a thin, icy layer across the top of his voice. "This will probably be a better story than the whole 'we saved Olympus by prophecy-wrote from a Titan overlord that likes to eat his own babies' one, because seriously, who can relate to that? That's pretty unique to us right there: this is more universal. I will be telling this story. With emphasis on the dramatic irony and the sexual milestones."

And you, Annabeth thinks, staring at him. Need to get a hobby, like skipping class. Like normal kids, the ones that don't try to proposition their friends into threesomes when they're not even half-way through high school.

Later, she will blame this whole thing on him.

Because really.

(This is how it begins; with a happily ever after that doesn't end, with a bang like the universe starting over again, with two guys and a girl who don't know how to let go, so they figure something else out instead.)








-fin

Sequel can be found here.


Comments

*flails*

It is always a fantastic fantastic day when you post Nico/Percy/Annabeth fic. And that is all I have to say right now because this fic has rendered me incoherent with glee. BUT I WILL BE BACK IN THE MORNING WITH MORE COHERENT FLAILING.
*blushes and flails back at you* Fact: you are too nice to me.

(And also, as I'm sure I have told you before, OT3 would not have occurred to me before you first prompted it, so you've got nobody to blame but yourself :DD)
Oh man, this is so good! Like, I still know nothing about this fandom, but this is awesome and I am in love with the entire last part.
Ahaha, really? That's the part I wrote at eleven o'clock at night, going, "I need to be dooonnneee ;_;" and therefore the part I was most uncertain of.

bb, you are awesome and thank you for reading even though you don't know the fandom! :DD
Okay, first of all. The fic that this is a prequel to? I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR, FOR LIKE WEEKS. And I THOUGHT you had written it, and I COULD NOT FIND IT for some reason. I was tearing my hair out, so that's the first reason I'm totally thrilled to see this, because I've been dying to reread that fic, because I loved the little universe you set up there, how there was kind of a darker edge to the entire thing.

And then this! This! I love this! Except I suck at articulating why, mostly because you've got the characters right on, I think - Annabeth's worry about the other shoe dropping, and that whole conversation with Malcolm (and is it stupid that he's the vague secondary character I want to see written more, on account of Annabeth interacting with her siblings is something I just feel like I need more of?) and then Nico tying Percy back to his Mythomagic game (the line about Greek heros having more life points is great) and Percy sort of being a big Hero in real life but also sort of a coward with his "Ok, I won't go back to Annabeth", "Hey, Annabeth, don't tell Nico we're back together," because that just strikes me as so in character.

And I love that Nico makes the move on Annabeth, in the end, and the whole plot, and I really just loved the whole thing. Like, a lot. And I love that you write this OT3, because I just need more of it in my life, I think.
Oh, man, I could not find a reply for this comment for the longest time because it is just TOO AWESOME for me to handle. Thank you, thank you for all the praise: I love your writing, so it means a whole lot that you like mine, too. I. Just. fudhfkjrhsiucdkaf, I am blushing and incoherent. ♥♥!

Yesssss, re: Malcolm. I am just a sucker for most of the minor campers. I wish there were more of them.

Nico/Annabeth is always the hardest part of this OT3 to write, because they interact, like, twice in the canon, tops. And I wanted to write them liking each other for each other, not just the both of them liking Percy. And ... yeah, that's kind of where this came from. That and these three are just so much fun to play with.
Oh, hi, let me just sit back here and blush and flail at the unexpected drive-by compliments I woke up to this morning. Here, I've been sitting back and quietly admiring your fic from afar the whole time - you have a real way of turning a phrase that's really delightful (Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Annabebth being on the broken side and Percy being on the up side of broken up, and also that line in the genderbending fic about there being a graphite scrabble of annoyance following Percy; they're perfect ways of putting things that seriously just... never would have occurred to me) and really put an enjoyable, clever bend on a fic even if it has a relatively serious subject matter and tone. So uh... I love your writing style, a lot.

And you're making me want to try this OT3 (...I might attempt something anon at the kink meme first, to see if I can actually swing it) but like you said, the Nico/Annabeth part of it would be the hardest to get around. Fact is, that's one of the things I appreciated most in the fic - I've seen way too many fics that advertise an "OT3" and it's really just two characters being in love and and grudgingly letting the third play along. By the end of the fic, I really do get the sense that all three are in love.

That's actually the part I'd want to explore - there's a good bit of loss in both of their histories and omg I have so much other stuff to write, quit being so awesome and making me want to write other stuff.
It's like you say in the second part - Percy's SUCH a Harry Potter. I mean, you made him so, and it rings so true. =D
You also made me like Annabeth, idk, I could live with that, hehe. Nico is gorgeously bullshit-free, it makes me go all swoon-ey. Thank God I'm not related to Athena, right?

Can I have your fanfics every day? *twiddles thumbs*
Yeah, PJO and Harry Potter get compared a lot :DD And Annabeth! I'm glad you think I did all right with her. I'm always nervous when I take her POV. idk why, probably because I'd make a lousy Athena kid, too =D

And sure! But it'd probably involve locking me up somewhere dark and remote and I think law enforcement frowns upon that.
Erm. Don't go putting ideas in my head ^^
Other than that, you're probably safe, seeing as I'm half a world away =P
I had that same idea xD Nico decides he likes Percy when Percy tries to kill him because, hey, what's more eye opening then nearly being killed?

Fantastic. Love this threesome, in fact my one an only loved threesome <3 You are just too awesome and amazing for writing about them.
And don't get me started on how well you do write them together ;D
Ahahahahaha, yessssss. You know, I'd completely forgot about that scene up until somebody said to me, "yeah, I totally saw some Percy/Nico in that wall-slamming scene in the Underworld." And I went, ".... HMMMMM."

*flail!* Thank you so much! That means a lot. Gah, I'm blushing so hard ♥
First of all, Trogdor reference: BURNINATING THE COUNTRYSIDE, BURNINATING ALL THE PEASANTS, BURNINATING ALL THE PEOPLE... IN THE STRAW COVERED COTTAGES!!!!!!!!!!

Second of all, this is epic. I LOVE P/A/N fics, but this is one of the best ones I've read so far. Very well written, funny, and sexy!
You know what this calls for, don't you. TROGDOR MOTIVATIONAL POSTER.

But. Um. Burninating aside, thank you, that's a high compliment indeed! *.*

♥♥
What. This is the best prequel/sequel ever. I really love how you can use words in totally unexpected ways. The description always blows me away. You always know the exact right word to use in a sentence, and the phrases are always ones I've never heard before. It's like poetry in prose form, and that's the very best kind.

What else can I say? I love the way you write the trio. You make them real.
*squeaks, hides face* You are way too nice to me! That's one of the kindest things anyone's said about my writing. Eeeee, thank you, I'm glad you like them! ♥ They are my favorites to write.
GOSH, HOW ARE YOU SO AWESOME. JUST STOP, MY HEART CANNOT TAKE IT! seriously, you're brilliant. i love this! never stop writing nico the way you do; his tactless, take-no-prisoners bulldozing helps me giggle myself to sleep. AND PERCY BEING ALL, FUCK IT, WHY NOT. why not have both indeed, percy jackson, just help yourself.


♥♥♥♥
EEEEEEE, YOU. ♥♥ HOW DO YOU KEEP LEAVING ME SUCH AWESOME COMMENTS? Thank you thank you, you made my day :DDD
I'm a little late to this party. Sorry!

I hardly ever (read: never) use LJ but to get my PJO fix I've had to go further afield. I don't really know how this site works, like at all, but I LOVE this fic. Love, love LOVE this fic. It's actually given me a ship, which I never even HAD before I read it. Makes me ridiculously happy...

I love your prose. I kind of want to eat it. (Is that weird? Caffeine and insomnia is not telling me that this is weird, but then I'm weird when I'm not bouncing off the walls from being tired). It made it so nice to read. The sarcasm and the humour are excellent. Love.
I cannot believe I never got back to your comments! I feel like I need to stick my head under the sand in shame, because they are fantastic comments. I'm so glad you left them. They made my day when I got them, they really did.

Thank you! ♥
*blush!* I ... I don't even know what to say, what a wonderful thing to come home to. Thank you for such a comprehensive review: I didn't even know people got these kinds of things out of my fic :DD

Thank you so much! ♥
Nice.

Just, nice. Thank you for the fic. I was a bit wary of reading because I'm in the middle of The Last Olympian and I didn't want spoilers but, fuck it! I said and well, I'm happy. I've yet to read much fanfiction in this fandom, but reading through yours will surely keep me occupied this week :)

One thing I really like about this fic is the set up. 1a, 1b, etc. I liked the way it flowed and how IC everything felt. I liked the mention of the scene in the cell because honestly, I grinned reading it. XD I liked alot of Nico's lines and Annabeth's POV. How well you made this OT3 work (I was puzzling over how it'd work in my head) and you definitely converted me.
\o/ THANK YOU. I'm so glad you noticed the 1a, 1b thing -- it's when readers catch little things like that that makes us writers feel better about ourselves :D Thank you so much for the comment, I'm glad I could spread the OT3 love ♥
So I'm back! Is there such thing as an LJ restraining order you can take out against me? If not, petition for one. There should be.

Anyway, I reread this today because I woke up at 3 in the morning with my brain telling me that you write just like Jeanette Winterson (I knew you wrote like someone who's work I enjoyed but it's taking me several months to figure out who that is, for I am monumentally slow, even on faux Red Bull) and couldn't go back to sleep. So yeah. I like her work, but I LOVE yours. This fic made me feel so many things at once, sad, lonely, depressed and then all the way back to elation and loling again, even the second time around, and I just wanted to drop by with a large dose of crazy for you (sorry about that) to remind you that you, and this fic, rock.

So... uh, that will be all? (For now!)
jdjhfurhfkjdschds I don't deserve you and your amazing comments. Srsly, they make my day every single time.

Thank you so much ♥
Thank you for sharing
dragonmen

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